On Monday, March 3, Apple unveiled its new “CarPlay” system at the International Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland. According to Apple, The CarPlay system will be “the best iPhone experience on four wheels,” allowing users to plug-in their iPhone and use certain features through their car’s built-in display. In a recent statement from Apple, the company stated that CarPlay allows users to ask Siri to calculate directions, make calls, and access text messages by reading user’s messages and allowing them to dictate a response back. Additionally, CarPlay allows drivers to listen to all the music on their iPhone, as well as certain third-party music providers – such as Spotify or Beats Music – through supported apps. Apple suggests that the system is “a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the Car,” but auto-safety experts are not so sure.

As reported by CNNMoney, David Teater, senior director at the non-profit National Safety Council is “very, very concerned,” about Apple CarPlay. “The auto industry and the consumer electronics industry are really in an arms race to see how we can enable drivers to do stuff other than driving,” Teater said.

According to a study released last year, the reaction times of drivers double when they were engaged in either manual texting or even, voice-to-text dictation text messaging. The study suggests that voice-to-text applications such as Apple Siri offer no driving safety benefits. The study, sponsored by Southwest Region University Transportation Center and conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institute, tracked actual driving performance of 43 participants on a closed course. “Understanding the distracted driving issue is an evolving process, and this study is a step in this process,” Christine Yager, a Transportation Institute associate said. “We believe it is a useful step, and we’re eager to see what other studies may find.”

car In the Texas A&M Transportation Institute study, drivers were asked to perform certain tasks – such as responding to a light at certain intervals – while either texting manually or through a voice-to-text application.

Other findings of the study included:

  • The amount of time that drivers spent assessing the roadway ahead decreased, no matter which form of texting they were engaged in.
  • Manual texting required a little less time than voice-to-text dictation for most task drivers were asked the perform, although driver performance overall was roughly the same.
  • Drivers felt safer using the voice-to-text application, over manual texting, although driving performance decreased with the use of both methods.

Vehicles equipped with CarPlay are anticipated to make their debut within this next year from manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Volvo,  Jaguar, Honda, and Hyundai, according to Apple. Other manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Ford, and Kia expect to use CarPlay on their auto-models in the future.


To view the Texas A&M Transportation Institute study, please click the following link:

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